HENRY FARRELL AND DANIEL DREZNER have posted their paper, “The Power and Politics of Blogs,” online. This was one of the two papers that I mentioned in my post yesterday about the excellent forum on politics and blogs at the American Political Science Association.
Farrell warns the lay reader that this paper is packed with political science jargon but told me this morning that a popularized version would soon appear in a major unnamed DC-based, glossy magazine. They may even make the cover.
The abstract of the paper reads:
Weblogs occupy an increasingly important place in American politics. Their influence presents a puzzle: given the disparity in resources and organization vis-ÃƒÂ -vis other actors, how can a collection of decentralized, nonprofit, contrarian, and discordant websites exercise any influence over political and policy outputs? This paper answers that question by focusing on two important aspects of the “blogosphere”: the distribution of readers across the array of blogs, and the interactions between significant blogs and traditional media outlets. Under specific circumstances — when key weblogs focus on a new or neglected issue — blogs can socially construct an agenda or interpretive frame that acts as a focal point for mainstream media, shaping and constraining the larger political debate.
To me, this is interesting stuff.
— Steve Clemons